Sometimes it’s more challenging to turn back than it is to press on. Adventurer Eric Larsen found that out firsthand on Dec. 28 as he was forced to double back and head home 10 days into a daring 750-mile bike ride to the South Pole. Bitter cold weather, headwinds and dangerous conditions on the ice were blamed for the turnaround. Instead of pacing 25 to 40 miles per day on his custom Surly Moonlander bike, Larsen found himself covering closer to 10 miles per day.
“At that rate, my chances of making the pole before my food ran out (as well as the end of the season) would be zero,” he writes at EricLarsenExplore.com.
Still, he could have continued on, hoping for a risky extraction, which would have put rescuers lives at risk. He could have gone all-in for the glory, even if it meant almost certain death. “It’s hard to think of all my sponsors and supporters that I’m letting down,” Larsen writes.
But in turning around, Larsen was thinking about his family waiting at home: his partner Maria Hennessey, his two-month old son Merritt, and his father, who suffers from Parkinson’s Disease.
“But at least I CAN turn around,” he writes. And he did, to live and try for the pole another day.
Check out Larsen’s documentary “Colder,” which tells the story of Larsen’s daring and successful pursuit to reach the North and South Poles and the summit of Mount Everest all in one year in the trailer above.